Nets’ Bruce Brown looking forward to facing Celtics

Bruce Brown answered the question with a question.

“What do you think?” he said pointedly.

He was being asked if opposing defenses would start playing up on him as he continued to torch them, if he would soon start garnering respect. The Nets’ versatile guard/forward knew the answer.


Not when he’s sharing the floor with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. He’s still looked at as an offensive weak link. The same guy who wasn’t drafted until the second round (42nd overall) in 2018. Who couldn’t get more than the $4.7 million qualifying offer last summer despite a strong season.

“I still take it as disrespect,” said the 6-foot-4 Brown, who averaged career-highs in points (9.0) and 3-point shooting percentage (40.4) during the regular season and has played his best of late. “I still have that chip on my shoulder. I’m a second-round pick, [No.] 42. I’m not supposed to be in this position. I’m super-excited to be here, playing and starting in the playoffs, going back home.”

Bruce Brown
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

This series means a lot to Brown, a Boston native. He grew up rooting for the Celtics and will have plenty of family and friends in attendance at TD Garden. As soon as the Nets beat the Cavaliers and the series became official, he was being hit up for tickets. And for the Nets to win the series, Brown will need to play a key role as a supporting scorer and key defender against the Celtics duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

“I love going back home, seeing my family and my friends, a great atmosphere in TD Garden,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun.”

Bruce Brown drew headlines on Tuesday night after the win over the Cavaliers, saying he felt the Nets had an advantage in the upcoming series because the Celtics were expected to be without standout big man Robert Williams III due to a torn left meniscus. He called Williams’ expected absence “huge” for the Nets.

The Celtics haven’t offered much of a response to Brown yet. Jaylen Brown said they would respond “with action.” Forward Daniel Theis came the closest to engaging.

“I mean, he said what he said. So for us, show it on the court,” Theis said. “If thinks the way he thinks, we’re going to prove him wrong.”

Brown is used to proving people wrong himself. He doesn’t seem to mind the spotlight, either.

One of the newest Nets has a connection with one of the organization’s most memorable players. Goran Dragic, signed in late February, has the jersey of Nets great Drazen Petrovic hanging in his home.

Petrovic’s mother, Biserka, gave it to him after he led the Slovenian national team to the 2017 Eurobasket championship over Serbia.

“She told me I kind of remind her of her son when he was playing for the Croatian team,” Dragic said. “That was something I didn’t expect, but I was really thrilled and happy she thought of me like that, and she gave me the Drazen Petrovic jersey and I gave her my jersey.”

Petrovic died in a car accident in Germany in June 1993 after leading the Nets to the playoffs in 1992 and 1993. He is considered a hero in the states that make up the former Yugoslavia, which includes Slovenia.

The 35-year-old Dragic made his return in Wednesday’s play-in tournament victory over the Cavaliers after being in the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. He scored three points in 10 minutes.